Women Dealing with Health Problems in Desert: A Case Study of Cholistan

  • Aisha Shoukat
  • Saima Zafar
  • Muhammad Jafar


Being a desert, Cholistan has nomadic and semi-nomadic culture with life threatening climatic and geographic conditions. In fact, life in Cholistan revolves around search for water, food and fodder. Health problems are also acute among these desert dwellers. The area is deprived of healthcare services. The existing literature on Cholistan desert contains no scholarship on the ways of dealing with health problems particularly of women. This article is the first of its kind to explore this aspect. Using ethno-methodology, primary data were collected from 50 elderly women through protracted qualitative interviews and participants observation. Thematic analysis technique was used for analyzing the data. The findings of the study reveal that several intertwined factors such as lack of road and transportation facilities, lack of healthcare infrastructure and qualified medical staff, adverse weather conditions, mass illiteracy, ignorance and existence of massive poverty are main factors responsible for poor health of women in the Cholistan. Also, women’s health problems are given little importance because of male dominance and male support and approval is sought by women before getting medical treatment. In addition to this, lack of access and poor awareness about modern healthcare services, make women in Cholistan rely mainly on self-medication and local remedies such as ethnomedication and spiritual healing.